What Is Naltrexone and How Does it Work?

What Is Naltrexone?

The opioid epidemic has been a disaster for families and communities across the country. With so many affected, there is a good chance you know someone struggling through opioid addiction.

Whether they became addicted due to prescribed pain medication or experimentation, the results are much the same: addiction, broken families, the risk of arrest, and the ever-present danger of overdose.  But, you should know that there are medications available to help break the cycle of addiction.  One such drug is Naltrexone, a prescription medication which binds with opioid receptors in the brain to block the euphoric effects of opioids.

If you are dealing with opioid addiction or someone you love suffers from it, you may already be familiar with naltrexone. But what is this drug, how does it work, and why it is so crucial in the fight against drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and deadly overdose?

Keep reading to discover the role naltrexone plays in overcoming drug and alcohol addiction.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

How Does Naltrexone Treat Addiction?

Naltrexone has long been a popular tool in the fight against drug addiction, but it is not widely known outside the medical community. But if you or someone you love is struggling with a drug dependency, you owe it to yourself to learn more about this potentially life-saving medication.

Naltrexone has been federally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat both opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. This dual-use can be a lifesaver, helping addicts recover and making it easier and more comfortable for them to do so.

Naltrexone for Alcohol Addiction

With opioids and alcohol producing similar euphoric effects on the brain, naltrexone works to suppress these feelings. Therefore, when a user drinks alcohol, naltrexone prevents them from feeling the pleasures associated with drinking.

While naltrexone can reduce the rewards users feel when drinking alcohol, it won’t lessen the alcohol withdrawal symptoms or the cravings alcoholism produces.

Naltrexone for Opioid Addiction

For addicts going into drug rehabilitation, naltrexone is often the drug of choice for treating their addiction. By blocking the brain’s centers that create the euphoria that comes with opioid use, similar to what it does for alcohol, naltrexone works to help addicts overcome their addiction. Once the naltrexone enters their system, the opioids can no longer generate these euphoric reactions.

In addition to its effectiveness, naltrexone is also safe when used as directed and prescribed. Naltrexone is not addictive, and since it is not an opioid, it does not carry the same risk of addiction as Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, and other popular prescription pain medications.

How Is Naltrexone Administered?

Naltrexone is easy to administer, and it can be given in two different ways. The easiest way to take naltrexone is by mouth using pills, but this form of the medication must be administered every day to remain effective. Family members of those with drug addiction may be prescribed naltrexone to keep on-hand, and they will dole it out to their loved one daily to aid in their recovery.

While the pill form of naltrexone is easy to administer, it is not the right choice for everyone. That is why there is also a longer-acting version of the drug, given via injection. The injectable form of naltrexone must be administered by a health care professional, often in a rehab facility or other clinical setting. Injectable naltrexone is administered in a single shot once every four weeks, and the drug typically retains its effectiveness throughout the entire time.

Seeking Help for Alcohol or Opioid Addiction

Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder has been widely documented. This form of addiction recovery is highly effective, well-tolerated, and safe for people of all ages. But as with all other forms of drug and alcohol addiction and recovery, the addict has to recognize the need for help.

Suppose you or someone you care about has been struggling with opioid addiction or abusing alcohol. In that case, you may want to talk to them about medication aided treatment options in general and naltrexone in particular. This powerful drug is not an opioid, it is not addictive, and it can be a potent ally in the fight against addiction.

The first step in the journey from addiction to recovery can be the hardest, but it does not have to be that way. Now that you know a little more about naltrexone and its effectiveness, you can finally help the person you care about receive the needed help. Just ask your doctor or pharmacist about naltrexone, then find the best treatment center to assist you and your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.